Police arrested more than 30 people trying to hold two unauthorized gay rights demonstrations in central Moscow on Saturday.
Opponents of gay rights scuffled with the demonstrators and with police. A police spokesman, Maxim Kolosvetov, said 18 gay activists and 14 opponents were arrested.
Activists tried to hold a demonstration at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin and later outside the Mayor's Office on Tverskaya Ulitsa.
The attempted demonstration at the first site appeared aimed at connecting gay rights with the Soviet Union's stand against Germany in World War II, which remains a cornerstone of Russian national pride.
The demonstration ban "is particularly shocking because during the Second World War, Muscovites stood against the Nazis who thought to exterminate Jews, homosexuals and Communists, but now the mayor of Moscow is colluding with new-Nazis," said Peter Tatchell, a British gay rights activist who has taken part in several demonstration attempts in Moscow.